Saturday, 31 August 2013

inner Beauty.

Belle (or Beauty

For those of you who aren't familiar with Belle, let me give you a little background. She is a 17 year old girl from France who is wise beyond her age. She seeks adventure through reading.
 Most people in town think she's strange
Belle seems a bit odd to the other girls in town because she has no interest in normal worldly desires. Even when the most popular, handsome man in town proposes to her, she refuses.(multiple times!) She understands that true love isn't about good looks or popularity. Belle's goals aren't directly on marriage or finding Prince Charming. Instead, she seeks to find adventure, and a better life for herself and her family. After taking her fathers place as a prisoner in an enchanted castle, she's faced with forming a relationship with Beast..(see the movie to learn more! ;))

A few things we can learn from Belle... 

Seek Adventure in our walk with Christ:  
At the beginning of Beauty & The Beast, we see Belle seeking wisdom & adventure through books. She's not concerned with finding a spouse, instead she directs her focus on bettering her life.. As Christians we should be seeking adventure in our walk with Christ.  If we're actively chasing after Jesus, our lives will absolutely be bettered & full of adventure..Like Belle, before we can direct any of our focus towards finding a spouse, we must understand the importance of seeking wisdom through the adventure that comes with having a relationship with Jesus. In Mark 1:17 we see Jesus calling the disciples to a new life. A life of excitement. Jesus said, "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." We see the disciples leave there old lives behind, their families, their jobs, everything behind to follow Jesus.  Our constant primary focus needs to be on Him, our love for Him and His unconditional love for us..And like the disciples we need to be seeking the adventure of a Christian life wholeheartedly and without hesitation.

Later in the movie, we see Belle show the Beast forgiveness. By not judging him based on his first impression, she chooses to show him grace, & forgive him of his harsh, tantrum like behavior. Eventually Belle is able to see his true colors. People feel the need to put on a mask, a protective shield, in attempt to not be hurt. Many times this is because they've already been hurt, mislead, or maybe they're scared.  If we really tried to see people for who they are on the inside, if we were quick to show grace and mercy, we might just be able to see see their true colors. In Colossians 3:13 the Bible tells us to, 
 "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
 As Christians, we need to be quick to forgive & to forgive as Jesus forgave us. But I think I should point out that we also need to forgive intelligently. We don't forgive to forget..we don't forgive & pretend it never happened.. we forgive and we move forward-Not allowing bitterness to take hold, and by being BOLD enough to not let the mistake happen again. 

"Take me instead", Belle says as she trades her freedom to save her father. Watching this scene, seeing Belle's selflessness and sacrifice, I can't help but reflect on Jesus' unconditional love, selflessness and sacrifice for me, for you, for us. Jesus took our place on the cross. He gave up his life, in order for us to be forgiven. Jesus sacrificed himself because we are worth it to him. We are good enough.
YOU are worth it. YOU are good enough. 
Our self worth isn't dependent on the world. Our self worth and confidence come from Jesus. We can rest in the confidence of  knowing we're worth it because he CHOSE us and he chose to sacrifice himself for us. Not because of anything we did, or anything we didn't do..but because we serve a gracious, merciful, forgiving, and unconditional loving God.
 "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you..." John 15:16 .  
We don't have to find our self worth, acceptance, or confidence in the brand name clothes we wear, the make up we put on or by the worlds standards.  Jesus absolutely us, and called us worthy.

Self Control: 
The first few times we meet the Beast, (aka Prince Adam), he is violent, he speaks without thinking, he yells and let's face it..he seems pretty scary.  Later we see him second guessing his behavior, and the way he spoke to Belle. James reminds us that, "if anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless." (James 1:27) There are times as humans that we will be scared, sad, angry...heated and we will need to consciously tame our tongue. In the movie we see the beast,( who is afraid, scared, bitter and ashamed)..react with an attitude of anger. As Christians when we feel this way, we we need to be aware of our tongue, & consciously make sure that our words are glorifying to Jesus.

Girl Power
Belle is considered strange. She doesn't act or dress like the other girls in town, she's not interested in the same things they are, especially not "DREAMY" Gaston.  She has beauty and a spirit of humility and gentleness, yet she doesn't let herself get walked all over. She's not concerned about outward appearance, (in herself OR in the beast)  The Bible tells us to be the same way. "Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes." (1 Peter 3:3) But instead to be concerned with having a spirit of beauty. 

What you look like on the outside doesn't impress God, therefore we should not concern ourselves with it. Like Belle, we should strive to see someones true colors, because who knows..
"there may be something there that wasn't there before" ;) (how many of you sang this line?)

Looking back to the first "Grace, Giggles & #GirlPower blog", we learned that Girl power is: 

"Girl Power is the true, God given strength to be a girl. The might, capability and adequacy God created within us(females) so that we would be fully equipped to be able to fulfill our roles as godly women, wives, mothers and examples to other women. It’s the strength to not conform to what the world says “girl power” is or to what society says the “perfect” woman should act like, look like and be like."
(if you haven't read the 1st entry, take a look to read more about what girl power means & how it's available to every daughter of the King.)

As Christian women, let's seek to obtain that God given girl power , the strength, confidence, & beauty God has blessed us with. Let us be quick to forgive, & show grace, let us stand firm in our faith, and  be loving towards our brothers ad sisters in Christ. 
"Whoever loves God must also love his brother." 1 John 4:21
Jesus died not only for you, but for all of creation .We're all sons and daughters of the King..everyone no matter what we look like, how we dress, or where we're from, and we need to start stepping out first in love, and treating each other as if we're all worthy. Jesus has called us to something higher. Let us strive to see the good that God sees in others .Let us see if we can let Gods light shine through the beauty he's placed within us. 

xo. girlpower

{Thanks to everyone for the messages, emails & posts about how these blogs are impacting you. Keep them coming, and although it might not be an immediate response, I promise to reply to each and every one of you! May God bless you this week, show you how to be quick to forgive, love and confident in HIM.}

***if you're a Disney girl as well..who is your favorite princess & why? Maybe you'll see her pop in next weeks blog!;) ***

His Princess: Being daughters of the one true King.

As I went to post this blog last night for #NewBlogFriday,  It was on my heart to disclaim a few things. So... I decided to wait, and type up an intro for the blog series i'm about to step into..

are you sitting down? ;)

(image from Google images)

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be diving into some of Disney's Princess stories

I'll be digging through some of the encouraging, uplifting and, for lack of a better term.."Girl Power" aspects of their individual tale.  

Now, before we continue.. let me be clear, I'm very well aware of the controversy that surrounds Disney's princesses, however I'm not focusing on the negatives. Instead I'll be focusing on some of the following..

** We're all daughters of the KING..His princesses. It's not  a "princess complex", when we're confident in being HIS princess. 

**Sometimes our "knight" (the man God created just for us) doesn't come in shining armor...sometimes he's a beast ;P (it's can laugh:))  

** Whether you don't have a mom, are away from your mom, or maybe just in need of another wise woman in your life .. As girls there are seasons we go through when we need a "fairy godmother". A strong, Christian woman (who just may not be our biological mom), to encourage us, and remind us to keep our eyes focused on Jesus.

Throughout these stories, the princesses show characteristics of : sacrificial love, forgiveness, grace, boldness and have hope in a better life... 
               and yes, they are beautiful
but if we get ourselves stuck focusing on the emphasis Disney might have put on physical beauty- we miss the aspects we can gain from.

Why do we relate to Disney Princesses?
*we think we look like one of them
*we can see ourselves in their story
*As women, we desire to be loved, cherished, rescued, adored and protected. (We'll talk about how Jesus can fulfill ALL of these way better than any Prince Charming could!)

The evil step mother: One thing Disney got wrong. 
*Throughout this series I'll spend one week going through, the joy and love that can come from having a step parent. How God knows just who we need in our lives and when, and how this has held true in my life through my relationship with my "step" mom. 

SO. There it is, I hope you will join me on this journey, as we look back to childhood stories, along with scripture. I look forward to discussing it with you, & hearing from you!

**As always, thank you so much for your support, your love, and your encouragement. It means the world to me. xo! #girlpower

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Following Him without hesitation: When God's plan interrupts ours.

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, & lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, & he will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

I can't even count the times that I've thought to myself  in retrospect, "really Talia, did you ever actually think your plan would be better than what God has for you?" 

Since becoming a Christian, God's plan has continually interrupted mine, and I couldn't be more thankful and blessed because of His grace and perfect plan. Over the past few years, two times in particular stand out to me..
When I was 23, I finally made my decision to join the United States Air Force. I started my paperwork, took my ASVAB & spent months going to weekly "DEP" (delayed entry program) meetings, doing PT with Ssgt. Branson.  I seemed to face one obstacle after another..paperwork not going through, appointments being postponed  etc.. However, the door never seemed to fully close..  I spent countless nights asking God to hurry the process along, and clear the path for me to "cross into the blue". 

After 8 months of devotion to joining the AF I was faced once again with an obstacle.  This time, a waiver was needed for me to finish my paperwork. In the meantime , I flew back to Virginia, to work on a new music project alongside Three Meadows Management & (my now good friend) Krislyn Woolley (drummer for Shine Bright Baby, Bread of Stone, & currently LastWatch).  I spent months waiting on the waiver , and finally in August I got the call from Ssgt. Branson saying my paperwork was almost finished, and we were moving onto the final step! It was finally here. I had been determined, persistent & it was finally paying off! With bittersweet feelings I packed up my stuff, and prepared to fly home to sign my last bit of paperwork before going to basic training.  
That's when Gods plan interrupted mine......
Just days before I planned to return to Sacramento, I had my first conversation with Joseph and Lori from Seventh Day Slumber.  Within 36 hours, I was on a flight to NY to meet my new brothers and sisters of SDS!  Little did I know I'd spend the next year ministering alongside  them through my biggest, & eventually meet the man of my dreams, the one God created just for me, my wonderful husband. <3

Thank you Jesus, for interrupting my plan! 

The second time is more recent.. 

When Keith and I got married, our plan was to venture back out onto the road together. We've been asked by quite a few different churches to speak at different events.. and as many of you know, our heart is to be in full time ministry,  preferably on the road.  We pushed to find jobs in the states,  we questioned what part of America we'd live in.. doors opened, doors closed, but nothing that we came across gave us that sense of peace we were looking for.. until April.  We were officially in Canada 2 months longer than we had planned, when we received a job posting for a church in northern Ontario.. we ignored the email.
We had started to wonder what God was planning for us, and how long we'd have to wait to find out! Later that week we opened it & learned that the job would move us 15 hours north into Ontario, Canada, and put us very stable in a small church.. 3 hours away from the nearest Starbucks, Walmart, or sushi place! (yikes!)

After reading the description,learning more about the church, & town, we prayed together, & we knew God was calling us ..not back to the states..but further north into Canada than either of us had ever been! 

We had so much peace about God's plan, that we packed our bags and 2 weeks later were moving north! Talk about an adventure!

God is pleased with us when we obey him without hesitation.  He continues to prove to us how much better His plan is than anything we could come up with on our own, how His plan prevails, and how truly blessed we will be if we  just follow Him without hesitation.

Whatever your dreams & goals are in life, I encourage you to be sure that they're in line with what Jesus wants for you. His plan truly is best.  My prayer for you is that you'll trust in him fully, seek him wholeheartedly and most importantly, FOLLOW him without hesitation.  God will direct your path, and He truly does have a future full of goodness and joy prepared for you. 

xo. girlpower!

what are some of your dreams and goals? how has God's perfect plan interrupted yours for the better? lets chat! FB me or Tweet me! @TaliaHaughn 

Friday, 16 August 2013

Stand Strong. 

"Stand strong when life changes
Stand strong through the ups & downs
Stand strong for you know that God is in control."

These words have been ringing in my ears since VBS ended. I mean, the catchy tune & dance moves definitely helped, but really.. The words are resonating in me. How encouraging of a reminder: "for you KNOW that God IS in control". The first few days I just sang along with the kids, did the motions, etc..but then it started to hit me..the song doesn't say "for you think God might be in control"... It's a reminder that God is absolutely in control, and we as Christians should KNOW it. Trust it. Believe it.

The song encorages us to stand strong when life changes, to stand strong through the ups AND through the downs. "When life changes" or- we move, we get fired, someone we love dies... It's expected that we will go through "down" seasons. As Christians we need to be constantly and consistently preparing ourselves, and nurturing our spiritual strength. We need to be reading our bibles, filling ourselves with godly music, godly readings and Christian fellowship. It only takes a small hole in our "good christian walk" for the enemy to sneak in and whisper lies to us, and when that happens, we leave room for anxiety to settle right in..

Okay, #realtalk time..

There are times I find myself experiencing anxiety,becoming overwhelmed far too easily, or as my husband would probably argue "having a temper tantrum".  Just kidding... but really. I've often let stress, or anxiety drive my whole day, make me sick, or worse-interfere with the joy God intends for us.  Most often my anxiety starts   because I feel out of control of a situation. Well here's a truth.... I'm not created to be in control! 

God is absolutely, entirely, &completely in control of our lives, and He will direct us according to HIS plan, if we just let him. He IS Able. Wow- how easy and anxiety free our lives CAN be if we just give control to God, our protector, our provider, our healer! Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 verses 25-27, 

 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" 

If we truly believe what the Bible tells us, and we can trust that God will provide for us, as He does the birds of the sky..if we can accept what Jesus says and trust that God is in control, then anxiety will cease.
Anxiety has no power over you when God is in control. Trust in that.


I'd love to hear from you! If you're struggling with anxiety, stress, giving something to God, understanding just want to talk! Get in touch with me!
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